Friday, January 6, 2012

Grief and Sadness

I went to the dentist the other day and as I chit-chatted with the dental assistant, Gina, her colleague walked in and asked her how her friend was doing. After her co-worker left, she proceeded to tell me what I had already figured from their conversation: Gina’s friend had two little girls, ages two and four, as well as Stage 4 breast cancer.

She remarked that the little girls had no clue what was really going on as the four-year-old explained to her that, “mommy goes to the doctor a lot because it makes her feel better.” Having an almost four-year-old myself, I understand that their minds are narrow and they perceive the world works just as their own lives do. My son thinks going to Chuck E Cheese is a very normal and regular thing and this little girl thinks going to the doctor is a very normal and regular thing that mommies do.

As I thought about them later that day, I started grieving for their family. I grieved for the little two-year-old that would never be able to recall her mommy from her own memories but might be able to conjure up memories from the stories she will hear. I thought about the four-year-old that will have to be forced to say good-bye to her mom very soon without knowing quite what happened and may possibly even blame herself for her mommy leaving. I grieved for the husband that would now have to raise two little girls without the woman he loved, without the one person he, undoubtedly, knew loved his children as much, if not more than himself.

But most of all, I grieved for the mom. I sympathized with the sadness she must feel knowing full well how precious time and health really is and that she was able to know the love only a child can bring, the joy you experience in their happiness and the strength you gain from wanting only to protect them to suddenly say good-bye and (if you believe in an afterlife) just watch from afar. I ached for her love for them because I know full well what a mother’s love entails but I, fortunately, have not a clue what misery must really feel like.

Some days I want nothing more than the ability to get away from my children but I am so truly blessed and grateful that that is, simply, not the case.

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